Filled to the Brim Mondate

It’s been a few weeks since my guy and I shared a Mondate. And so, this morning after joining our youngest for breakfast, we mosied on over to Pleasant Mountain in West Bridgton. Leaving the truck at the base of the Ledges Trail, we walked 1.5 miles down the road to the Bald Peak Trailhead. Since we didn’t have two vehicles, it was much easier to get the road piece done first, rather than at the end when we would be hot and tired. The climb up was a wee bit slippery since it had rained most of the weekend and was still raining at 5am. But the rain had stopped, the sun shone brilliantly and the breeze made for a pleasant adventure up our favorite mountain.

p-Indian cucumber root

My guy encouraged me to go first and I surprised him with a steady pace. I did pause, however, when I spotted fruit beginning to form on Indian cucumber root.

p-berries wet

By the time we reached the intersection with the North Ridge Trail, we realized we were in for more fruit–a sweet treat. Since the high bush blueberries at home aren’t ripe yet, we didn’t even think to bring containers for the low bush berries that carpet the mountain’s ridgeline.

p-rain on berry leaves

Bejeweled berries and leaves sparkled in the morning sun.

p-ridge view 2 (1)

We continued across the ridge, but in the slowest of motions for us. My guy lagged behind, which isn’t usually the case.

p-picking berries 1

Unless, that is, he spies blue. Everywhere.

p-picking4

At first, we ate them on the spot.

p-picking2 (1)

But then he decided that his hat would serve as the perfect container.

p-picking berries 1 (1)

And that’s when greed set in.

p-picking 6

Blueberry greed.

p-picking 5

He couldn’t pick them fast enough.

p-filled to the brim

Even as we sat to eat our sandwiches in an area where the only view was blueberry bushes, a few oaks and pines, he continued to pick until his hat was filled to the brim.

p-summit 1

Somehow, he finally pulled himself away and we continued on to the summit.

p-wood lily 2

I was eager to get to the summit and then move on because I hoped to find the wood lily in bloom.

p-wood lily 2 (1)

And I wasn’t disappointed.

p-ledges 2 (1)

Our descent was much quicker as the berries aren’t quite so abundant along the Ledges Trail. Speaking of that, those who fear that I’ve given away a prime location, fear not. My readership is low and the berries plentiful.

p-camp kayak

Back at camp, we checked on some high bush berries, but they’re still green. The greed will have to hold off for a few more days. Thank goodness we could find our way home with the help of a cairn–in the water?

p-cake 2

And then it was time to prepare dinner and help our youngest celebrate his birthday. He’d spent the day playing in Boston, much more fun that hanging out with the ‘rents.

A pleasant Mondate indeed. Filled to the brim were we–with each other, blueberries, cake and family time.

Change is in the air

Pleasant Mountain was enshrouded in a blanket of gray when a friend and I headed up the trail this morning. And the muggies were upon us.

We stopped briefly because a new wildflower was in bloom near the trailhead.

Tick Trefoil

Tick Trefoil. Funny name for such a delicate flower. Trefoil refers to the fact that the compound leaves each have three leaflets. And tick–ugh–nobody likes ticks. In this case, the hairy pods that develop after it finishes flowering tend to stick to people and animal fur. Beggar’s lice is another common name. Geesh.

Ledges in fog

Despite being sultry, we hustled to the ledges and found the view to be pea-soup fog.

summit 1

The same was true at the summit.

summit 2

If the fire warden’s tower was still manned, the view would be limited.

summit 3, bit of blue

But then . . . a spot of blue.

summit 5, changing

The clouds rolled past

summit 6

and land forms came into view.

summit 7, emerging

An ever changing work of art. While the view continued to transform, it poured for a couple of minutes, which we welcomed.

wood lilies

We paused before descending via the same trail. A few days ago one wood lily caught our attention. This morning–four in bloom

wood lily--burst of light

offering a brilliant burst of color.

back to ledges--change is in the air

All the way down, the view became clearer

hang clouds

as the hang clouds quickly dissipated.

lovell rec 2

And it turned into the perfect day for Lovell Rec kids to examine nature up close and personal

lovell 4

while donning leaf berets.

change

Tonight–change is in the air.

(Disclaimer–if you received an earlier post from me, I’m sorry. I hit the publish button by mistake.)

A Day of Contrasts

Each time we climb Pleasant Mountain, the view differs–and so it was this morning. Haze sugar coated the summits beyond.

hazy 2

Green, blue, white, purple and gray melted into each other.

haze 3

That’s what made a bright orange wood lily beside the trail stand out.

wood lily

Certainly a shock of color.

wood lily 2

Step in with me for a closer look. Three sepals and three petals, but their design is similar. Each is jazzed with dark purple to black spots–the better to draw in those butterflies and skippers. And white-tailed deer.

wood lily, whiting

The other thing to notice is how the sepals and petals taper at the base. I actually took this photo on Whiting Hill in Lovell about two weeks ago. But, I’m curious about its reproduction–one on Whiting, one on Pleasant. Am I missing something? Have the deer consumed others? I frequent both of these locations and have only seen the solo plants.

porcy 1

I  can’t sit still when I get home. Especially when I know I have work to do. So, I wandered around the backyard. Right off the deck, a quaking aspen grows on the edge of a flower garden. Daylilies surround a wooden barrel we turned into a water feature. Alas. They’ve been knocked down.

porky claws

The resident porcupine has been visiting on a regular basis. Quaking aspen bark features horizontal and vertical lines, but the porcupine left its own mark–look for the fainter diagonal lines created by its toe nails.

porky leaves

The leaves must be delish.

blueberries

I wandered some more. Certainly delish–blueberries. They need a wee bit more time.

Bittersweet Nightshade

Not delish, but dramatic in shape and color is the bittersweet nightshade. I remember my mother calling it deadly nightshade. Its berries are poisonous, but unless eaten in large quantities, it isn’t fatal. OK, the point is–admire the flower; don’t eat the berries.

grasshopper

Not as dramatic because it wants to blend in is a grasshopper. Do you see it?

grasshopper 2

A sibling was hardly invisible on the cellar door.

yellow lily 2

Before heading inside, I stepped into our neighbor’s yard because her yellow lilies are blooming. Ours will probably show forth their sunshiny faces tomorrow. I’ve a feeling that these are cultivated, but don’t know for sure. I’m hoping Bev Hendricks of DeerWood Farm and Gardens will  enlighten me on this species.

From a hazy summit view to brilliant natural hues, today was a day of contrasts.